What Is DFA? A Comprehensive Overview to the Department of Foreign Affairs

What is DFA? A Comprehensive Overview to Department of Foreign Affairs


The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), also known as Kagawaran ng Ugnayang Panlabas in Filipino, is the executive arm of the Philippine government responsible for several crucial roles. 

These include contributing to national security enhancement and the protection of territorial integrity and sovereignty. 

The DFA actively participates in national development efforts to bolster the Philippines’ competitive position globally. 

It also focuses on safeguarding the rights and welfare of Filipinos living abroad and involving them as partners in the country’s development initiatives. 

Additionally, the DFA aims to project a positive image of the Philippines and foster greater international understanding of Philippine culture, ultimately fostering mutually beneficial relationships with other nations.


Late 1800s: 

1898: President Emilio Aguinaldo appoints Apolinario Mabini as the Republic’s first Secretary of Foreign Affairs, marking the beginning of the the department.

Colonial Rule and Japanese Occupation: 

1898-1946: The Philippines experiences colonial rule under the United States. 

1942-1944: The country faces Japanese occupation. 

Independence and Establishment of DFA: 

1946: The Philippines regains independence, including control of foreign affairs. 

1946: Commonwealth Act No. 732 creates the Department of Foreign Affairs. 

1946: Executive Order No. 18 organizes and operates the DFA and the Foreign Service. 

Post-War and Cold War Era: 

1950s: The department focuses on post-war rehabilitation, trade, and diplomatic relations. 

1952: Foreign Service Act of 1952 is passed to professionalize the foreign service. 1960s-1970s: Philippines pursues international diplomacy, becomes a founding member of the United Nations, and participates in global matters. 

Marcos Years: 

1967: The Philippines initiates ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). 

1970s: The department promotes trade, investments, and international meetings. 

1976: Foreign Service Institute is created for training. 

EDSA Revolution: 

1986: Re-establishment of democratic government under President Corazon Aquino. 

1989: Philippines becomes a founding member of APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation). 

Foreign Policy Shifts: 

1991: Philippines ends RP-U.S. Military Bases Agreement. 

1991: Foreign Service Act of 1991 reorganizes the DFA. 

Ramos Administration: 

1992-1998: Core priorities of foreign policy include national security, economic diplomacy, and overseas worker protection. 

1996: Philippines successfully hosts APEC Leaders’ Summit. 

Arroyo Administration: 

2001: Philippines pursues foreign policy based on nine realities. 

Present and Future: 

2010s onwards: DFA continues to face global challenges and opportunities in the service of the Filipino people. 

Mission and Vision


A. The organization’s mission is to promote and protect Philippine interests on the world stage.

B. Goals of the mission: This means that the organization works to make sure that the Philippines is respected and its needs are taken care of in the global community. They want to represent the Philippines well and make sure its interests are heard and considered in international affairs.


A. The organization envisions itself as a strong and resilient foreign service that contributes to making the Philippines a strong and influential country in the world.

B. How the vision aligns with its mission: In simple terms, they want to be really good at what they do (the mission) so that the Philippines becomes strong and influential (the vision). They believe that by promoting and protecting the Philippines’ interests globally, they can help the country become a force to be reckoned with on the world stage.

Career Opportunities

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) offers a wide range of exciting career opportunities for individuals interested in diplomacy, international relations, and public service. 

Within the department, you can pursue a career as a Foreign Service Officer (FSO), where you’ll represent the Philippines abroad, engage in diplomatic negotiations, and promote Philippine interests on the global stage.

 Additionally, there are various administrative and support roles that contribute to the smooth functioning of the department, including positions in consular services, protocol, administration, and research. 

The department also provides opportunities for specialized roles in areas such as international law, trade and economic affairs, cultural diplomacy, and more. 

With its mission to protect and promote Philippine interests in the global community, a career in the DFA offers a unique chance to make a meaningful impact on the country’s international relations and diplomacy efforts

Attached Agencies of DFA

  • Foreign Service Institute
  • Technical Cooperation Council of the Philippines
  • UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines

Address/Contact Details

2330 Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City, Philippines

(632) 8 834-4000
(632) 8 834-3000
8 234 3488 (For Passport Appointment Concerns)
8 651 9400 (For Passport, Authentication, & Other Consular Inquiries)


The history of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reflects the Philippines’ journey from colonial rule and occupation to independence and its active participation in global diplomacy. 

Over the years, the DFA has evolved to become a vital institution in protecting and promoting Philippine interests on the world stage. 

With a mission to ensure the Philippines is respected and its needs are addressed internationally, and a vision of becoming a strong and influential global player, the DFA plays a crucial role in shaping the country’s future. 

As it continues to face global challenges and opportunities, the DFA offers a range of career opportunities for those passionate about diplomacy and international relations, contributing to the nation’s growth and influence on the global stage. 


  1. Wikipedia Contributors. (2020, January 2). Department of Foreign Affairs (Philippines). Wikipedia; Wikimedia Foundation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Department_of_Foreign_Affairs_(Philippines)
  2. ‌Super User. (2015). Mission, Vision & Core Values. Dfa.gov.ph. https://dfa.gov.ph/about/mission-vision-core-values
  3. ‌The Official Website of the Department of Foreign Affairs – Republic of the Philippines. (2015). Dfa.gov.ph. https://dfa.gov.ph/